Author Archives: Xavier Charde' Carroll

Assisted Death

Advocates of assisted suicide support it, because they believe that it is not painful to the individual and instead, acts as a relief for those suffering from a poor quality of life (whether it is due to an illness or old age). However, thirty-three of the fifty states support a painful assisted death, the lethal injection of prisoners.

In a recent report issued by the Human Rights Watch, titled So Long as They Die, the organization highlights that “although supporters of lethal injection believe the prisoner dies painlessly, there is mounting evidence that prisoners may have experienced excruciating pain during their executions.” Like methods described in the movie Suicide Plan, lethal injection requires a sequence of drugs: an anesthetic, a paralytic, and potassium chloride, which stops the heart. However, unlike the drug cocktail used during assisted suicide that yield a painless death, the drugs approved by state officials for legal injection have been deemed “too cruel to use on dogs and cats.” What makes it worse is that prisoners are often paralyzed but “insufficiently anesthetized,” and therefore, although they are experiencing intense pain, they are unable to “signal their distress.”

The descriptions of the things that have gone wrong in executions were appalling. Some included:

  • “For over an hour, medical technicians and then a physician tried to find a suitable vein for intravenous access. The condemned inmate ended up with one needle in his hand, one in his neck, and a catheter inserted into the vein near his collarbone. One hour and nine minutes after he was strapped to the gurney, the prisoner was pronounced dead.
  • “A kink in the intravenous tubing stopped some of the drugs from reaching an inmate. In the same execution, the intravenous needle was inserted pointing the wrong way-towards the inmate’s fingers instead of his heart, which slowed the effect of the drugs.”
  • “A prisoner who initially lost consciousness during his lethal injection execution began convulsing, opened his eyes, and appeared to be trying to catch his breath while his chest heaved up and down repeatedly. This lasted for approximately ten minutes before his body stopped twitching and thrashing on the gurney.”
In the movie, Law Abiding Citizen they show a lethal injection that corresponded to some of these examples. Below is the link for a clip of the scene: 
Now imagine this going on for 10…20…or even 30 minutes, like what occurred during the lethal injection of Angel Diaz.
How is this humane? People may do bad things in their life, but no one deserves to die in this way. However, it is not only supported by states but people come to watch these people die this way. Families hurt by the individual gain satisfaction in seeing the person die.     

On another note, I found it interesting that the death penalty is legal and the punishment is given, because a judge, jurors, and the families that fall victim to the actions of the prisoner during their life believe that the he or she deserves to die. Yet, euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal. Do people suffering in this world not deserve to have the right to die too?

To heal or kill…

As described in M. C. Kearl’s journal, How We Die: The Social Stratification of Death, whether it is due to understaffing or the desire to save money, nursing homes often hire caretakers or nurses that are incompetent and end up socially isolating, abusing, or abandoning their patients. This also occurs in hospitals; however, in the case of nurse Beverley Allitt, it proved to be even more detrimental to the patients with which she came in contact.

In the early 1990’s, Allitt who had repeatedly failed her nursing exams was hired for a temporary position in the Children’s ward of an understaffed hospital in Nottingham. Many children came into the hospital, with their parents by their side hoping for the best. They brought their children there to be healed and viewed Beverly Allitt as an “angel of mercy,” a nurse that was always by the child’s side and the comforting shoulder for the parents.

However, under her care, many kids that were admitted with a minor condition, such as a cold, simply to be monitored, would have a respiratory crisis, be revived, then have another respiratory crisis and turn pale. Red blotches would appear, and he or she would completely stop breathing. Cardiac arrest followed, and doctors would try repeatedly to get the patient to start breathing again. The children were placed on life-support machines, but had suffered from severe brain damage. After being taken off life support, the children, without history ofheart disease, would die from heart failure. Others had induced paralysis, cerebral palsy, and damage to their hearing or site before passing away. She did not create these tragedies in order to gain money or fame; after the patients died, Allitt would go home and continue about her day/week as if nothing had happened. Within the first four months, she attacked nine children and killed four. She was the “angel of death.” Overall, after she was caught, detectives uncovered 25 suspicious episodes with 13 victims, ranging from the age of 5 months to 11 years old.

The symbols of health, healing and survival: the hospital, the white coat, the smiling nurses, became signs of death, dying, suffering, and loss. The place that people come in order to prevent death and prolong life was the cause of many innocent people’s deaths.

Read more about the details of this story at:

Xavier Charde